What’s Science Got to Do With Teaching and Learning?

For decades, cognitive scientists slowly accrued a solid understanding of how people learn but never bothered to tell teachers and students what they had found.

It is as if, says author Benedict Carey, “doctors had discovered a cure for diabetes and spent 50 years characterizing its molecular structure before giving it to a patient.”

He is attempting to rectify that with his book How We Learn: The Surprising Truth about When, Where, and Why It Happens. Teachers, students, parents — anybody, really — should find it not just fascinating but useful.

For example, say you need to learn something — the names and dates of the presidents, the key characteristics of different artistic movements, Spanish verb declensions, musical scales, the state capitals, you name it.

What’s one of the best ways to learn? If you just need it for a test, you can always cram the night before. Of course, as any desperate student who has practiced this technique can tell you, you’ll be lucky to remember any of it a week later.

But if you space out your studying — that is, study the material today and then again in a few days and then again a week later — the same amount of —> Read More Here


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